The Northern Miner’s 2006 “Mining Person of the Year” – Ivanhoe Mines’ Robert Friedland

Since 1915, the Northern Miner weekly newspaper has chronicled Canada’s globally significant mining sector.

The world’s top athletes, scholars, artists and gurus all talk one way or another about the importance of finding and then living in that narrow zone that exists at the very limits of your intellect and abilities. But “working your edge” is a trickier thing in practice: staying too close to the familiar may lead you to stagnation and complacency, while transgressing too far across your normal boundaries can leave you broken and disconnected.

The business world, too, has its share of people who’ve lived and prospered “at the edge,” and we can think of no better example in our own industry than The Northern Miner’s “Mining Person of the Year” for 2006: Ivanhoe Mines executive chairman and founder Robert M. Friedland.

While there were other worthy candidates in this very busy year for the minerals industry, Friedland’s luring of British major Rio Tinto in October into a partnership to develop Ivanhoe’s Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia’s South Gobi region struck us as a defining moment in one of the world’s biggest mineral-development success stories of the past decade.

(We’ve been covering Oyu Tolgoi’s astonishingly rapid advancement under Friedland’s direction since we first visited it in 2001, and its latest parameters can be seen on page 2 of this issue. Look next week in these pages for another in-depth, on-site report.)

Read more